As you approach Southampton Central Station, along Blechynden Terrace, you cannot help but notice the name of Thankful Joy, the one-time landlord of the Railway Tavern, in large letters on the kerbstones.

Not one but two residents of Southampton were blessed with the uplifting name.


Thankful Joy Senior

Mr Joy Senior was born in Arundel in 1817 – first appearing in Southampton as a ‘dealer’, living in Nutfield, Nursling.

Shortly afterwards he was ensconced at Cockroads – or Cockwoods Farm – which was located on Hill Lane, where Richard Taunton Sixth Form College is today.

The 1859 Post Office Directory describes him as a yeoman farmer.

Before Richard Taunton and its predecessor Hill College occupied the site, it was home to the Southampton Grammar School for Girls, and at that time the original farmhouse was still in existence, standing next to the caretaker’s cottage. The farm comprised 35 acres and provided employment for two men and a boy.

Thankful married Eliza Payne at Alverstoke on June 23, 1834, and they had nine children.

He must have been very content with his name because he conferred it on his eldest son, born in the late spring of 1835.

Thankful Joy Junior

Thankful Junior decided to branch out of the market gardening business and into innkeeping, becoming landlord of the nearby Belle Moor Inn – now the Bellemoor Tavern.

The 1867 Post Office Directory describes him as a beer retailer of Hill Lane. By 1876 he had crossed The Common to The Cowherds.


He married twice; Jane, his first wife, died after a long illness, while they were at The Cowherds and he later married Caroline Lambert, from Deal in Kent, in 1879 at St Luke’s church in Onslow Road. There were no children from either marriage.

Judging by an article in the Hampshire Advertiser in 1880, Thankful’s tenancy of The Cowherds became a matter of dispute in court. He was accused of withholding the licence.

Presumably he was forced to relinquish it but this did not signal the end of his career as a landlord because he then moved on to a pub called The Railway Tavern in Blechynden Terrace – a pub which was destroyed during an air raid in 1940.

The notice of his second wife’s death in the Advertiser in 1923 tells of his marvellous talking parrot which could sing the first verse of God Save the Queen.

In 1891, Thankful saw his name in print once more. In those days before land reclamation, a bottle nosed whale was spotted off the Forty Steps before heading toward Blechynden. In a stark reminder of how much attitudes have changed in little over a century, Thankful and his friend, Edwin Balne, who was landlord of The Grapes in Oxford Street, set off in a small boat, not to coax the creature into deeper water but to kill and capture it. According to the newspaper article, 26 shots were fired before they were able to tow the 18-foot whale ashore using a heavy rope and an anchor. It was later put on display at the Kingsland Tavern, St Mary’s Street.

Deaths of both men

Both Thankfuls are buried in Southampton Old Cemetery. Thankful Senior’s headstone records the deaths of his wife and daughter Kate, as well as his own in 1893. Thankful Junior’s headstone records the deaths of both his wives as well as his own in 1913 at the age of 78.


Landlord Thankful Joy’s name and last pub form part of the inset granite text that is one of the features of the Station Quarter North Project. Also, a few years ago some descendants from Liverpool were, with the help of the Friends of Southampton old Cemetery, able to find the graves and pay their respects, so the Thankfuls are gone but not forgotten.

Ally Hayes is a tour guide with and a member of Bevois Mount History. Thanks to Penny Rudkin for her invaluable help.